A Trojan Horse Lands In Houston

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: April 27, 2009

Colts HOUSTON – The Houston Texans used the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft to improve their defense and with the 15th pick they selected USC outside linebacker Brian Cushing.

The Texans chose Cushing over his USC teammate, Clay Matthews III, who was taken in the first round by the Green Bay Packers.

Cushing was one of the unquestioned leaders on one of the premier defenses in college football. He is also regarded as one of the finest strong-side outside linebackers in the game.

The All-American was named All-Pac 10 1st-team in 2008 and he was a finalist for the Butkus Award, seminfinalist for the Lombardi Award and quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy.

“Brian is a kid that we targeted all along,” Texans defensive coordinator Frank Bush said. “We like the way he plays football.”

“He played at a very prestigious school and he was a starter there for four years. We like the energy he brings, the intensity he brings and we’re excited to have him.”

That excited by Bush was more visible than Cushing showed when he first got the news that he was drafted.

“Brian is an all business kid. He was fired up on the phone, even though it didn’t look as though he was excited. He’s a no nonsense type player that is already to come in and get to work”.

In the second round the Texans selected Cincinnati defensive end/tight end Connor Barwin. Barwin established himself as one of the top playmaking tight ends in the Big East during his career.

The Texans selections for day two included: Alabama guard Antoine Caldwell, New Mexico corner back Glover Quin, North Carolina State tight end Anthony Hill, Rice tight end James Casey, Utah cornerback Brice McCain, and Arizona State safety Troy Nolan.

DRAFT DAY NOTEBOOK–

The Detroit Lions held true to their word by selecting former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford as the No. 1 pick of the 2009 NFL draft. The Lions signed Stafford to a six-year deal the night before.

– Former Baylor Bears offensive tackle Jason Smith was selected as the second pick , going to St. Louis. Smith was one of 10 players from the Big 12 Conference and one of seven players chosen in the first round.

– Other Big 12 selections included: Texas Techwide receiverMichael Crabtree at #10; Houston native and Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo to the Washington Redskins; #17 Josh Freeman-Kansas State quarterback to Tampa Bay Buccaneers; #19 Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin-Philadelphia Eagles; #20 Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew-Detroit Lions; and #32 Missouri defensive tackle Evander Hood-Pittsburgh Steelers.

– Going in the second round from the Big 12 Conference was: #48 Texas Tech defensive back Darcel McBath-Denver Broncos, #54 Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt-Minnesota Vikings,and Missouri defensive back William Moore-Atlanta Falcons.

– Former Rice University wide receiver Jarett Dillard was selected by the >Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. He is the second Owl to be drafted by the Jaguars, joining Brandon Green, who ws taken in the sixth round in 2003.